The Stamps and Patches of Mercury 8
Flight MR8 – Sigma 7
3 October 1962
9 h. 13 min 11 s
The fifth manned Mercury flight was given the modest objective of flying 2¾ extra orbits and drifting as much as possible with little use of the manoeuvring thrusters. Not surprisingly, the flight was described by the astronaut Wally Schirra as ‘routine and textbook’.
He was able to accomplish everything he had wanted to do, he said. The astronaut splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, notching-up a first in the space programme, which had almost clocked-up another – the first launch abort. Because Schirra’s Atlas launcher developed an alarming roll rate, at one point the range safety officer’s finger was on the destruct button.
Mercury 8 Stamps
Once again the flight of Mercury 8 was not as popular as Mercury 6 with only eight countries issuing stamps. In 1962 only Hungary issued a stamp for the flight, all of the other countries celebrated the flight on the anniversary of the flight or as a space achievements. Below is a list of the following countries that have issued stamps for Mercury 6. Also below are some of the stamps that were issued.
Czechoslovakia 1964 (SG 1421)
Hungary 1962 (SG 1849)
Panama 1963 (SG 793-94)
Panama 1964 (SG 869 / 871)
Qatar 1966 (SG 137)
Ras al Khaima 1966 (SG 47)
Rumania 1964 (SG 3101 / 3111)
Kathiri State of Seiyun 1967 (SG 121)
Uganda 1994 (SG 1362)
Mercury 8 Mission Patches
Schirra said: “I named my spacecraft Sigma Seven. Sigma, a Greek symbol for the sum of the elements of an equation, stands for engineering excellence. That was my goal – engineering excellence. Sigma means “Sum of” ..a mathematical term. I wanted to get off the “Gee Whiz” names and use a technical/test pilot term as well as acknowledge the Original 7. I also toyed for awhile with the names Phoenix and Pioneer, but settled on Sigma because the flight was the sum of the efforts and energies of a lot of people.”
Wally Schirra seemed to be very happy with the Sigma 7 logo. Not only did he wear the souvenir patch, he even signed pictures using the ‘E7’.
For more information on patches see www.spacepatches.info